Aerial panoramic photo taken on Sept 12, 2020 shows the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in South China. (CHEN YEHUA / XINHUA)
Hong Kong and Macao private car drivers can soon enjoy taking one of the shortest and most time-efficient routes to Guangdong province via the longest bridge-cum-tunnel sea crossing in the world — the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) — without the need to obtain regular quotas.
The provincial government of Guangdong has approved the Quota-free Scheme for Hong Kong Private Cars Travelling to Guangdong via the HZMB, which will strengthen the connectivity within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.under which private cars will also be exempted from paying customs duties.
The HKSAR government immediately voiced its “warm welcome” for the program, under which private cars will also be exempted from paying customs duties
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government immediately voiced its “warm welcome” for the program, under which Hong Kong private cars will also be exempted from paying customs duties.
Lam Sai-hung, secretary for transport and logistics for the HKSAR government, said the program is expected to boost short-term business trips and family visits among those living in the SARs and Guangdong province.
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The Quota-free Scheme, scheduled to be implemented in 2023, is regarded as step towards a full-fledged return to normalcy in cross-boundary traffic movement within the city cluster in the Bay Area.
A booming economy has been taking shape in the Bay Area despite strict anti-pandemic restrictions and quarantine regulations. The region, a cluster of 11 cities with Hong Kong and Macao at its southern-most points, ranked 6th in the Global Innovation Hubs Index (GIHI) 2022.
It is poised for a new round to economic growth in the post-pandemic age as its growth potential is unleashed and cross-boundary traffic and transportation is given free rein, according to experts.
The Macao SAR government has launched an app to facilitate its private car owners who want to apply for the program and take a trip to Guangdong across the megabridge — a world wonder in infrastructure construction linking the three jurisdictions of Hong Kong, Macao, and Zhuhai. The bridge is said to be “well prepared” for the expected bounce in traffic volume, with each trip costing 150 yuan ($21.5) per vehicle.
Guangdong started to accept applications from Macao residents on Tuesday and eligible vehicles are expected to hit the road to the Chinese mainland on Jan 1, 2023.
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Early in November, the State Council announced the customs guarantee-free policy for eligible Hong Kong private cars participating in the program, allowing their drivers to be exempted from paying customs duties and from having to apply for guarantee arrangements with mainland customs.
Family visits and business trips had made the boundaries of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Macao, and Zhuhai among the world’s busiest prior to the pandemic. When cross-boundary business fully resumes, car owners in Hong Kong and Macao — numbering 580,000 and 80,000 respectively — are likely be the first to reap the benefits.